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Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: 5 Hits and Flops as Xhaka scores but Armstrong earns a draw for the Saints | Premier League 2022-23

Southampton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Southampton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday, October 23.

Arsenal entered this contest on the back of five wins in as many games, keeping clean sheets in four of those games. While their defensive performances were not much of a concern, questions were raised about their goalscoring consistency.

Mikel Arteta maintained he would continue to play his best players and would expect them to push for wins. He fielded a full-strength lineup for this game as Gabriel Martinelli made his way back into the XI.

πŸ₯ Presenting our team for #SOUARSβ€¦πŸ‘Š Tomiyasu starts at the backπŸ§‘β€βœˆοΈ Odegaard skippers the sideπŸ€™ @gabrieljesus9 leads the lineπŸ“» Follow it LIVE with us πŸ‘‰ Arsenal.com https://t.co/eCLp0GP9v1

Arsenal made a strong start to the game as they controlled proceedings in the early exchanges. They kept the majority of the possession in the first half as they looked to continue their winning run. Granit Xhaka gave the Gunners the lead after 11 minutes, smashing in a cross from Ben White to make it 1-0.

Southampton reorganized their defense following the concession of the goal and sat back in a narrower shape. This prevented Arsenal from running through them and allowed the Saints to regain composure. The Gunners continued to press forward through Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka. However, neither could convert their chances.

The teams went into the break with Arsenal leading 1-0.

A goal to the good at the break πŸ™Œ#SOUARS

Arsenal made a slow start to the second half as tired legs became prominent, allowing Southampton longer spells with the ball. This allowed them to get into a rhythm and create momentum towards scoring the equalizer. Stuart Armstrong did just that, converting to make it 1-1 after 65 minutes following an assist by Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Arteta made a couple of changes following the goal in a bid to change his side's approach given the situation. Things seemed to have fallen perfectly in place as Martin Odegaard put the ball in the net after 80 minutes. However, Kieran Tierney ran the ball out of play before squaring it and the goal was chalked off instantly.

Neither side managed to create another opportunity as the game ended in a 1-1 draw. That said, let's take a look at the five hits and flops from the contest.


#5. Hit - Stuart Armstrong

Armstrong is not the quickest or the most dynamic of strikers. But he made up for his lack of pace with consistent effort throughout the game, chipping away at Arsenal's defense with every movement and duel.

He made a smart run at a consistent pace to get behind the Gunners' defense unmarked. Mohamed Elyounoussi did well to find him with a pass as he carried the ball into the box and calmly slotted it past Aaron Ramsdale.


#4. Flop - Edward Nketiah

Nketiah was brought on to replace Gabriel Martinelli late in the game and was fairly ineffective. He failed to make good runs into the box and when he did receive the ball, he was unable to muster a credible shot on goal.

He also gave the ball away cheaply a few times and was dispossessed with relative ease by the Saints defenders.


#3. Hit - Granit Xhaka

Xhaka continued in his rich vein of form for Arsenal as he added to his goals tally for the season, taking him to three across competitions. He played a lovely game overall as he bossed midfield and made the occasional late runs forward to support his team's moves.

He completed 56 passes with 90% accuracy, including three key passes and three long balls. He also attempted two shots on target and won two of his five duels.


#2. Flop - Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus is a rare type of player who misses several chances, but gets away with it because he creates the majority of those for himself. Today was yet another game displaying this exact situation as he attempted four shots. However, just one was on target while one missed the mark and two others were blocked.


#1. Hit - Martin Odegaard

Odegaard continued to show why he is rated so highly by Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal hierarchy. He put in a commanding display in midfield as he made things tick for Arsenal.

He had 42 touches of the ball and completed 30 passes with 88% accuracy, including four key passes and one long ball. He also won one of his three duels and made one clearance and one tackle.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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